Early Friday morning May 29th Apie Reyneke (58) owner of Serapa Safaris was killed while flying his Robinson helicopter which crashed while in route to Delareyville, North-West province, South Africa. Seriously hurt was his wife Yolande (42) and son Abraham (13) who have narrowly survived this tragic event albeit with extensive injuries. Following the accident, both were transferred to a Pretoria hospital critical care unit, and as of June 1 are in intensive care. Continue reading South African Apie Reyneke, Owner Of Serapa Safaris, Killed In Tragic Helicopter Crash
Fifteen years ago, PH John Scurr established Cardrona Safaris as a family owned and operated business. He explains its beginning, “The company was started in conjunction with our high country farming business located in one of New Zealand’s premier hunting locations, the Queenstown/Wanaka region on the South Island.”
Commenting on his PH work, John says, “Being in the safari business has been a special time of my life. Guiding clients from around the world, I have developed lasting friendships. This involvement broadened my interest in international hunting. I have bagged nearly a hundred different species of animals on all huntable continents. I do not yet have all of the Big Five, but am intimately familiar with an elephant charge and mixing it with the big cat.”
When afield John carries rifles chambered from .270 to .300 caliber. “We do not require anything bigger than .300 because we do not have dangerous game to contend with and the shots are rarely over 300 yards except when hunting tahr and chamois. Every year we harvest good quality animals for our clients across all the species available in New Zealand.”
2009 stands out as a highlight when Scurr guided a client on a red stag that scored 655—an SCI world record at the time. “It was a privilege to guide Prince Dimitrie Sturdza of Romania on that stag,” says Scurr. “The animal was high in the valley and the climb was quite a challenge for the Prince, who is in his seventies, to make it into a comfortable shooting position. The hunt was special because of his connections with hunters in Europe, his standing in society and the great respect he has for the history of hunting. He has a wonderful hunting culture, with gratitude and passionate respect for the species he pursues. We have become good friends and I have hunted with him in Romania as his guest. Developing these relationships makes the outfitter/guide business so rewarding and gives us a perspective on international experience.”
John described his own hunting experiences. “Along with fantastic African safaris, I have great respect for the big mountain ranges of the world. Hunting for ibex and rams in the Tian Shans, chamois in the Carpathians, tahr in the Southern Alps, mountain goat in the Alaskan mountains, tur in the Caucasian Mountains and mountain nyala in the Bale Mountains are memories of burning energy and personal satisfaction. Not all of my hunting ventures have been successful, so I have something to look forward to in coming years.”
Scurr provides hunts on foot, and can get you to hunting locations by four-wheel drive vehicles or helicopter. Small game, duck and quail are offered at their hunting preserve. Trout fishing is available in nearby Lake Wanaka and surrounding rivers.
An SCI member, John Scurr has invested in SCI knowing those funds are carefully and strategically used in programs educating young hunters, who are the foundation of the industry, about ethical hunting and conservation. John and his wife Anne have enjoyed hosting many families and take great pride in seeing those parents, girls and boys enjoying New Zealand’s wildlife and environment.
At the age of six, Joaquin Morales made a career choice. “I began to hunt by holding my father’s hand, and I owe him my love for hunting, my attachment to nature and respect for the animals,” he explains. Though he began hunting in Spain, his family relocated to Cameroon when he was 20 years old.
In 1985, Joaquin secured a contract with the Environment/Fauna Ministry for management of a camp in the Boubandjidah National Park and developed his career as a professional hunter in Cameroon.
Joaquin manages five camps for Mayo Oldiri Safaris in an area called the Sudanese Savannah. The hunt in this open area is exciting because the traditional method of following tracks is used. Specializing in Lord Derby eland hunts, Joaquin has taken more than 125 trophies for his clients during the past 25 years. The camp accommodations, food and atmosphere are first class.
Mayo Oldiri also offers hunts in the Cameroon rain forest area.
When guiding clients, Joaquin carries a powerful .460 Weatherby Magnum for the client’s safety in case of problems with African big game. When hunting alone, he carries a .375 H&H Magnum topped with a Zeiss 1.5-6x scope, a gift from his father.
The serious business of hunting does have its lighter moments. Joaquin recalls a nine-day hunt tracking a dwarf buffalo. Weather conditions were so bad the hunter wanted to quit unless Joaquin thought there might be one more chance. “When we found the track of a buffalo, the client asked, ”How old?” Joaquin replied, “I think about 12 years old.” The hunter could not understand how a track that old could be followed. “When I explained I was referring to the age of the animal, we had a good laugh.”
Joaquin recalls another memorable for elephant hunt with a Spanish client.
“Hunting is to go to the bush and forget about time, suffer from the Harmattan wind, the dust or the infernal heat. Hunting means getting up at dawn and walking for a long hard day. The hunter had these experiences and more.
When we finally found the elephant, late one April afternoon, we could not take photos because it was too dark. We posted guards, planning to return the next morning. We returned to find someone had extracted the tusks from our elephant.
“My client became discouraged and confused. We returned to camp, but I did not want to give up so easily and brought up this case with the traditional authority, the Sultan of Rey Bouba. With his support, we initiated an investigation with the help of the Sultan’s entourage. He sent messengers to the chiefs of all his settlements and provided us with a group of trackers to return to the crime scene to help with the investigation.
“After three days, the Sultan’s representative reported they had located the thief and the tusks were in the hands of a merchant who agreed to return them because he was unaware they were stolen. The safari ended happily when the tusks were returned to my client.”
Mayo Oldiri Safaris has an active 12-year-old anti-poaching program. A year ago, an association called Mayo Rey Conservation was established. Its objective is the conservation of natural resources in all the areas bordering Boubandjidah Park. The association brings together the traditional authority represented by the Sultan of Rey Bouba; the management of Boubandjidah Park; the Department of Environment , represented by the Conservation Service of the Park; and Mayo Oldiri Safaris, which has five hunting areas in the sector. Safari Club International is an honorary member of the association. Negotiations are underway to enable SCI to become an active member by contributing directly to Mayo Rey Conservation Association. Mayo Oldiri is a founding member of the Mayo Rey Hospital Foundation, which provides clinical services and surgery.
Joaquin has guided many SCI members and past presidents. Mayo Oldiri Safaris, a long-tenured SCI member, is seventh in the SCI exhibitor ranking list. In 2012, Antonio Reguera, owner of Mayo Oldiri, received SCI’s Outstanding International Professional Hunter of the Year Award.
Whenever someone mentions the title of Professional Hunter, most people automatically assume that all PHs are white. In fact, the phrase “White Hunter” has been used since the earliest Europeans began hunting on the African continent.
However, in the Republic of South Africa, a project to assist black South Africans to become licensed professional hunters has been in place for the past five years. Wessel Jacobs, Deputy Director – Professional Hunting and Resource Use Management of the Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation for South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, has pioneered the program.
Under this initiative, the Northern Cape Province has trained 134 previously disadvantaged individuals in PH-related skills. Thirty-six of these were selected and trained as professional hunters. Two succeeded in qualifying as hunting contractors.
The provinces of the Orange Free State and Kwazulu-Natal also have trained several previously disadvantaged individuals, and the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces have followed suit and have implemented training programs similar to that in the Northern Cape Province.
The provincial training programs have been successful, given the limited financial resources available. However, the funding to serve all of the interested applicants is not adequate. Currently, the only other funding option available is to obtain financial assistance from a benefactor. In both cases, an iron will is required to pass both the practical and theoretical examinations required for licensing as a professional hunter in South Africa.
Boyce Mafungwashe Frans is one of these amazing men. He works as a PH at Huntershill Safaris, located in the Stormberg Mountain Range of the Eastern Cape Province. His wife Lucy works as a chef at the lodge.
Boyce received his Professional Hunter’s license three years ago, and has been working as a full-time PH at Huntershill ever since. He attributes his success to the experience he gained during his formative years.
He grew up in Adelaide as one of six children and became a farm worker at an early age where he developed a deep love for the outdoors. This also enabled him to spend a lot of time in the bush where he had his first encounters with Africa’s diverse wildlife, mostly notably kudu, bushbuck and warthog.
His passion for the outdoors and for hunting in particular quickly grew and eventually led him to becoming a tracker. It did not take long for other people to spot Boyce’s natural abilities and suggest that he become a professional hunter. Boyce’s bushcraft impressed Greg Harvey, one of the owners of Huntershill, so much that he agreed to pay for his professional hunter’s training and assisted him to obtain a hunting vehicle.
After he became licensed, Boyce put his years of experience to use, hunting with foreign clients. His favorite part of being a PH, aside from the hunting itself, is getting to meet different people from all over the world. He especially enjoys seeing the smiles on his clients’ faces after a good day’s hunting and treasures the feeling of appreciation for a job well done.
Boyce has discovered that his skin color is an asset in the hunting world. Many of his clients prefer to hunt with a black PH who has grown up in the wild and gained an intimate knowledge of Africa’s fauna and flora.
Boyce believes that the years he spent working as a tracker provided him with a practical knowledge that many professional hunters do not possess. Consequently, his bushcraft far surpasses that of most PHs, making him highly sought after by international hunting clients.
Boyce’s knowledge of the bush is so well honed that he can easily stalk a client within bow range of any species of animal without being spotted. On one occasion his unique talents came in handy when another PH asked him to track a wounded Cape buffalo over 15 miles of rocky terrain. After many hours of stalking, Boyce guided the hunting party to within shooting distance, allowing the client to take his buffalo.
Language and its many dialects can be a problem for a PH. Boyce’s home language is Xhosa, but he also speaks English. However, he says that his most embarrassing moment came when he took his first American client hunting and was unable to understand what the man was saying.
As with all professional hunters, Boyce has his own opinions about guns and calibers and which are best for use in Africa. He echoes PHs continent-wide in saying a client should bring a rifle he is comfortable with and that he can shoot well.
For his personal use, Boyce prefers a .338 Magnum as an all-around cartridge because it allows him to take long shots when necessary while maintaining sufficient knockdown power to handle any of the country’s species of plains game. Boyce, however, is not a one-gun man. He possesses a strong opinion about which calibers should or should not be used on Africa’s different animals, based upon the species and its size.
When an animal is wounded and disappears into the bushveld, it is the trackers who are called upon to clean up the mess. Boyce gained first-hand experience following-up animals wounded by clients who used weapons and calibers that were inappropriate under the circumstances. These experiences taught him the importance of shot placement, being comfortable with your rifle, and using a caliber suitable for the species being hunted.
Boyce Mafungwashe Frans is an exceptional person and professional hunter. He possesses an insight into hunting Africa’s game that many other professional hunters are not able to achieve in a lifetime of hunting.
Through lots of hard work, an innate natural hunting ability and a little bit of help, Boyce has climbed the ladder of success to enjoy his status as one of only a limited number of black professional hunters, at least for now. With the necessary funding, the efforts of progressive-minded people such as Wessel Jacobs will continue.– Clint C. Thomas